Early last week this mastermind group I’m a part of was blowing up over this topic. Rachel was telling us that she was trying to send her dad a link to her short story “Canon in D with a Side of Tomato Soup”. So she did what most of us do which was she googled it, expecting her link to show up at the top. Only it didn’t. Links to another story with the same exact title by a different author showed up. She clicked it and found out that it wasn’t another story. It was HER story. Someone was pirating her story. And charging for it!
So she followed the DMCA protocols and sent an official takedown request. When the website that was hosting didn’t comply, she went to Google and asked that the listing be removed from the search results. After 4 weeks of patiently waiting for this to be resolved, the offending story was removed. But in that time, Rachel found more. She followed the same process.
As authors, the scariest thing for any of us is the idea that our work could be stolen. And unfortunately, it happens. Some may say that a silver lining is that it is a complement to your work. Eh, it’s still illegal and it sucks when royalties are already so thin to see someone else profiting from our work.
Here is what you need to do if you ever find this with your work.
Submit an official DMCA takedown request. The DMCA is the digital millennium copyright act. I have a like to copyright.gov below where you can read up on the law and the procedures put in place to make it actionable. https://www.copyright.gov/dmca/ https://www.copyright.gov/512/
To submit this request, you can follow the template email that I found on Scridb and modify it for your needs https://support.scribd.com/hc/en-us/articles/210128926-DMCA-email-templates
This act applies to all digital work, so beyond books, it can apply to images, music, articles, etc. Not everyone who is using someone else’s work without their permission is aware that they are necessarily breaking a law. But that doesn’t excuse the behavior. If you ever get one of these notices because you used what you thought was a free stock image for a blog post, there is a specific response you’ll need to use when writing back and confirming that you did the takedown. Scribd also has a template for that.
Now in Rachel’s case, the website was hosting pirated content and seemed to be a haven for pirates so they didn’t comply. Surprise, surprise. So she went to Google. She was able to show the exact date when her work was originally published and that it predated this pirated listing. Because of that, Google complied and removed the listing from search. So it is still out there, but should be VERY difficult to find. https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?hl=en
So Rachel won in this case, but it still is such a violation. One way that she is going to protect herself in the future is to set up a Google Alert for her name and the titles of her works. Now for us prolific authors, that can be A LOT of alerts, but the thing about these pirates is they can’t be stopped unless we take action.
Thankfully Rachel had this issue resolved, but she knows this may not be the last time. If you want to support her and help her after this really trying experience, check out HER story via HER link: https://everydayfiction.com/canon-in-d-with-a-side-of-tomato-soup-by-rachel-printy/
Thank you to Sheila Textor! Check out her channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjUnIGfwQ_xcbiqzvKtDpkQ/featured and book: https://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Mistake-New-Beginnings/dp/B08BDSDVWX
Music from: https://www.bensound.com/ E.R.F.
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